Getting a degree in philosophy may seem like a leisurely career path because of its nature as a highly conceptual subject of study. However, you will be surprised by how much it can build your essential skills, especially critical thinking. This article will describe the best jobs for philosophy majors, and what level of degree they require.
The study of philosophy can be combined with a multitude of disciplines that you might not expect. Religion, communication, business, and even medicine are standard courses of study that intersect with philosophy. This guide lists all of the information you need to understand the field of philosophy and the job opportunities awaiting you once you complete your studies.
What Is a Philosophy Major?
Philosophy is the study of investigating knowledge, truths, reality, and the existence of all things. It is a discipline that teaches you how to think critically and creatively. The field of philosophy teaches you to proceed through a logical and systematic line of thinking to inquire into a specific subject.
There is a misconception that philosophical studies are limited to abstract and metaphysical questions and inquiry. However, this field provides a solid foundation for law, business, writing, and teaching. Philosophy trains you for sound argumentation and investigation, which are necessary skills to excel in a job that requires a higher level of thinking.
How to Become a Philosopher: Philosophy Education Options
Whether you intend to become a full-fledged philosopher or use your major for other jobs, you will need a formal education. Associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees are available for philosophy students from various respected universities. These institutions provide you with the analytical, writing, and research skills necessary for a philosophy career.
Philosophy Associate Degree
An associate degree is a two-year degree option ideal for those that aren’t sure what they want to study or can’t stay in school for very long. Philosophy is often a specialization under the Associate of Arts (AA). After you graduate, you can move on to a bachelor’s degree or apply for a job as long as its entry-level requirement accepts an associate degree.
Best Associate Degree Programs in Philosophy
- Associate of Arts Degree with an Emphasis in Philosophy – North Seattle College
- Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts (Philosophy) – Mass Bay Community College
- Philosophy – Associate in Arts – Kansas City Community College
- Associate of Arts in Humanities, Philosophy, & Arts – Riverside City College
- Associate of Arts in Philosophy – Jefferson College
Philosophy Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree is a four-year university degree that is often the entry-level requirement to secure a job or pursue higher education, like law school. You can complete an undergraduate degree online or in-person through many US colleges.
Best Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Philosophy
- Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy – Arizona State University
- Bachelor of Liberal Arts, major in Philosophy – University of Massachussetts Lowell
- Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy – University of Arizona
- Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy – University of Colorado
- Bachelor of Arts in Humanities (Philosophy) – Washington State University
Philosophy Master’s Degree
Philosophy graduates can continue their studies with a master’s degree. A master’s degree is ideal for career advancement, especially for students who want to teach, publish studies and papers, or gain a doctoral degree. Graduate school is usually research-focused and trains you to do independent investigations. Students are encouraged to publish articles in respected and recognized journals.
Best Master’s Degree Programs in philosophy
- Master of Arts in Philosophy – University of California Santa Cruz
- Master of Arts in Philosophy – Texas A&M University
- Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy – Tennessee Technological University
- Master in Philosophy – University of Dallas
- M.A. in Philosophy – Saint John Vianney College Seminary
Philosophy Career Overview: Is a Philosophy Career Worth It?
Philosophy Job Outlook
Careers for philosophy majors can be wide-ranging due to their transferable skills. They’re trained in analytical skills and have built strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, philosophy and religion job outlook ranges from -10 to 21 percent growth depending on the field.
A degree in philosophy can land you a job in education, management, community and social service, legal firms, or in business and financial operations. BLS shows that job growth is promising for philosophy postsecondary teachers at 21 percent. Other positive job outlooks are predicted for management analysts at 11 percent, and lawyers and elementary school teachers at four percent.
In the same report, BLS reports that about 462,210 people with philosophy degrees are employed part-time or full-time. Their median wage as of 2018 is at $54,000. The salary would also differ depending on your type of job. For instance, jobs requiring a master’s degree would pay more than an undergraduate or associate degree holder.
Best Jobs for Philosophy Majors: What Can You Do with a Philosophy Degree?
There are wide-ranging careers available for philosophy graduates. These will depend on what college level that you have completed. Find out what the job market has in store for you once you finish your studies and how your skills fit into these careers in the following lists.
Best Jobs for Philosophy Associate Degree Grads
|Top 10% Salary
|University of Central Florida
|Public Relations Specialist
|Northwest Mississippi Community College
|Dine College (Arizona, USA)
|North Iowa Area Community College
|Retail Sales Supervisor
|University of Phoenix
- Average Salary: $74,650
- Job Outlook: 12 percent
A philosophy program improves your argumentation through verbal or writing skills. A technical writer works on instructional materials, content for publication, or journal articles. You can write on a philosophical topic or any topic using what you trained for in philosophy, especially your analysis skills and exceptional communication skills through writing.
Public Relations Specialist
- Average Salary: $62,810
- Job Outlook: 11 percent
A public relations specialist works to maintain the good image of any organization or business you represent. This is an ideal career prospect for philosophy graduates to utilize their speaking skills, especially during a crisis. As you are trained in school to clearly communicate answers to questions, you will not have difficulty dealing with inquiries and difficult situations.
- Average Salary: $51,760
- Job Outlook: 12 percent
A social worker helps communities and individuals to deal with problems and crises. A philosophy major is qualified to receive training as a social worker, especially if you are concerned with human existence. You can work on formulating solutions and responses to crises and extensively provide research outputs.
- Average Salary: $28,900
- Job Outlook: 9 percent
A teaching assistant job is an excellent opportunity if you are not licensed or trained to become a philosophy teacher. Philosophy graduates usually go to academics, and working as a teacher’s assistant can improve your interactions with students and better understand the academic environment. You will assist the teacher in creating lecture materials, organizing the class, and supervising students.
Retail Sales Supervisor
- Average Salary: $30,810
- Job Outlook: 4 percent
If you are into business, you can take up a retail sales supervisor job that will make good use of your leadership and analytic skills. You will need your critical thinking skills daily as you supervise employees. There is also an opportunity for you to improve the business with unique ideas based on your observations using retail and business philosophies.
Best Jobs for Philosophy Bachelor’s Degree Grads
|Top 10% Salary
|Northeastern Illinois University
|Institute of Lutheran Theology
- Average Salary: $185,950
- Job Outlook: Eight Percent
A chief executive or top executive is part of the central planning committee that strategizes to meet the organization’s goal. Mixed knowledge and skills in philosophy and business is applicable to this career path, especially critical thinking skills. You can take up a double major and work your way up within the business.
- Average Salary: $126,930
- Job Outlook: Nine Percent
A bachelor’s in philosophy is one of the most popular pre-law degrees for students. These two disciplines share the art of debate and argumentation, and your writing and speaking skills are improved through studying philosophy as an undergraduate. You can also work as a paralegal or a legal assistant if you have enough background in law and an excellent foundation in philosophy.
- Average Salary: $87,660
- Job Outlook: 14 percent
A management analyst job requires business acumen but also incorporates essential components of philosophy. Critical thinking and analysis skills are important to suggest strategies that will work for the organization. You can come up with a more holistic and universalist perspective when analyzing data and creating reports.
- Average Salary: $60,940
- Job Outlook: Seven Percent
A bachelor’s degree in philosophy could help you qualify as an elementary teacher to teach subjects like art or religion. Since philosophy involves extensive discussion on theology, you can use this knowledge to instruct various classes. Other philosophical skills are also applicable in strengthening the students’ skills in writing and reading comprehension.
- Average Salary: $51,940
- Job Outlook: Three Percent
Clergymen and clergywomen usually take up a philosophy undergraduate degree. This is because philosophy includes topics like religion, metaphysics, ancient and moral philosophies, and more. Additionally, aspiring priests and clergy leaders also improve their speech and writing skills through these courses.
Best Jobs for Philosophy Master’s Degree Grads
|Top 10% Salary
|West Virginia University
|Michigan State University
|University of Wisconsin
|Market Research Analyst
|University of Georgia
|University of Illinois
- Average Salary: $208,000
- Job Outlook: Three Percent
Believe it or not, you can work as a physician with a philosophy master’s degree. This works if you are doing research related to ethics and moral philosophy. The discipline can provide a different perspective to your study and works hand-in-hand with science to better understand the human condition.
- Average Salary: $97,500
- Job Outlook: Eight Percent
An education administrator is responsible for planning and overseeing student services and faculty research in universities. Your training in philosophy will provide you with exceptional strategic skills to organize the student body. Moreover, you have a deeper understanding of the need for improving research output productivity.
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- Average Salary: $80,560
- Job Outlook: 12 Percent
A postsecondary teacher or professor is another ideal career path for those with philosophy degrees. If your passion is to teach college students specializing in philosophy, this is an opportunity to practice the subject thoroughly. You can also continue publishing papers and contribute to philosophical research.
Market Research Analyst
- Average Salary: $65,810
- Job Outlook: 22 Percent
Working as a market research analyst is an opportunity to exhibit your excellent communication skills. You are using your knowledge in philosophy to produce content for advertisements. Moreover, intense research and analytic backgrounds are necessary to understand target consumers and audiences better.
- Average Salary: $63,400
- Job Outlook: Five Percent
An editor works in written or video publications. They produce, plan, review, and revise content. A philosophy degree prepares you for this career with writing and communication skills. You have a competitive advantage if the content is related to religion, civic organizations, or creative periodicals.
Three Final Tips to Get a Job in philosophy
- Complete the Pertinent Level of Study. There are specific degree levels that you need to complete as a minimum requirement for these jobs. Make sure that you have a solid academic standing and have completed your studies if you want a chance to qualify.
- Mix and Match with Other Disciplines. Philosophy is a flexible field of study that you can mix with other disciplines such as law, business, medicine, and more. If you have already decided on a career path, it is possible to take up a double major if the job requires it.
- Strengthen Your Core Philosophical Skills. Writing, speaking, and argumentation skills are core philosophical strengths that you must achieve. If you successfully acquire these skills, you will have a competitive advantage to take on your dream job.
There are a wide variety of opportunities within the field of philosophy once you graduate with your degree. You can use your core skills to qualify for a job that demands them, especially if they are art or law-related. Philosophical skills also combine well with disciplines like business and medicine.
It is important to remember that a liberal arts course like philosophy is flexible and adjusts to the current times. There is always an available job for philosophy majors because of their strong analytical thinking skills. Make sure to make use of your philosophy background wisely.
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